It’s been quite the time for fast rising pop-punkers Stand Atlantic recently. Having done extraordinarily well off the back of their debut EP Sidewinder, they are being tipped as the next big thing; and when you consider they have toured with the likes of Neck Deep, State Champs et al you can see why. I’ve got a really soft spot for female-fronted pop-punk; the two complement each other so well and lord knows there’s not enough of it out there. So, no pressure with their debut full length then….
We’ve already been treated to Lavender Bones and Lost My Cool which were both impressive singles and set the bar high for the rest of the album. Title track Skinny Dipping is an early stand out song that called for many repeat listens and has all the hallmarks of being a fan favourite: catchy hooks and reminiscent of where Sidewinder left off. However it pains me to say that it feels like the album peaks there and the majority doesn’t quite hit the mark for me.
Tracks like Bullfrog, Speak Low and Cigarette Kiss feel a bit too overproduced for my liking. They’re songs that I don’t think will convert very well on stage with overproduced intros. I’m sure they’ll find a way but they sort of lack the raw grittiness that I prefer, although I have no doubt they will be popular with those who like their pop-punk that little bit more sugar-coated.
Fortunately things pick up with Toothpick; the token ‘acoustic’ track. The choice to go with a clean electric rather than acoustic is a nice alternative from the norm and gives Bonnie Fraser the chance to truly show off her impressive vocals. It breaks up the album nicely and shows a side we haven’t yet seen from them.
Burn In The Afterthought shows more promise and has some nice chord progression and a big chorus, although following track Clay feels a bit of a filler track even with the addition of Creeper’s Hannah Greenwood. Album closer Roses is more what I was wanting to hear with a hard hitting chorus and palm muted verses. This is what I like about the genre and it’s a bit of a shame there wasn’t more of this throughout the album.
I find myself somewhat frustrated by this album as a whole. The problem is that I’m a 30 year old male and the more sugar-coated brand of pop-punk fails to really strike a chord with me. I like my pop-punk to still have some grit to it but Skinny Dipping leans slightly more towards pop than punk. However, the reality is that actually I don’t really know what I was expecting from this album but in hindsight, it’s exactly the album they needed to put out. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking here but it’s good at what it sets out to be. There’s some moments of real merit and a brutal honestly about the record throughout. However I feel that those who will really get hyped over this record are probably 10 years my junior. That being said, Stand Atlantic have still created something that will propel them right up there with all the heavyweights on the scene and whilst it’s not quite for me, expect to hear their name a lot more over the next year.